George Bengal, 69, the Humane Law Enforcement Director for the Pennsylvania SPCA since 2007, died Saturday, June 18 at Holy Redeemer Hospital in Jenkintown after a five-month battle with peritoneal mesothelioma, the shelter announced.

We profiled Bengal last month, as he battled the rare, fast-moving and lethal cancer.

On his last visit to the SPCA shelter where he worked, Bengal, 69, said he is concerned about what will happen to his life's work when his own life is done.

"It is not about me, it is about continuing this work after I am gone," Bengal said, his voice wavering. "If we don't do this, there is no one to step up and do the work."

For two decades, Bengal had been the face of humane law enforcement in the Philadelphia region and beyond. ...

"George Bengal was an icon, a fierce warrior against animal cruelty, and a street smart cop who led by example," Jerry Buckley, chief executive of PSPCA, said in a statement. "The animals have lost their best friend and we have lost a most special colleague."

Bengal was diagnosed with the cancer in February. He suspected he was exposed to asbestos, the known cause of the disease, while serving in the army during the Vietnam War.

Bengal is survived by his wife of 35 years, Carole; and two daughters, Kim Gremo and Lisa Bengal. His wife and Lisa were with him when he died.

He was very active in his church, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia.